5 Best Books About Calculus

5 Best Books About Calculus

Last Updated on November 16, 2020

Are you feeling unready for your calculus exam? Are you looking for references to help you learn about the subject? Stop worrying and have a look at this list of best books about calculus as a solution to your problem. It is important to find the ideal textbook for your learning style and study needs. Learn directly from the giants of calculus namely Ron Larson, Bruce H. Edwards, James Stewart, Morris Kline, Michael Spivak, George B. Thomas Jr., Maurice D. Weir, and Joel Hass.


1. Calculus of a Single Variable (By Ron Larson and Bruce H. Edwards)

This book is avidly used by both students and professors for its effective approach in teaching mathematics to learners. It is also suitable for various teaching and learning styles as well as environments. Each chapter contains a comprehensive calculus program. Furthermore, this is usually required in calculus classes because of its compatibilities with the lectures.

The key features of the textbook include Capstones, Writing About Concepts, Study Tips, Examples, Exercises, Applications, Review Exercise, and Problem Solving to help students master the concepts. Capstones generalize and relate each section. These problems are composed of conceptual and noncomputational portions. Writing About Concepts questions the understanding of the lesson. It also promotes technical communication abilities. Study Tips provide hints and information to avoid confusion and common mistakes. Examples demonstrate the step-by-step techniques for solving questions. Exercises allow students to practice what they learned in the section. Applications show the relevance of calculus in real-life settings. Review Exercises summarize each chapter and review the learners comprehensively. Lastly, Problem Solving tests the students’ grasp of the concepts with challenging problems.

  • Review: It has been noted as one of the best books about calculus due to its concise explanations and thorough exercises. It also offers examples of real-life applications and a great accompaniment to the courses of college mathematics majors. Moreover, the answers to the exercises are provided on its website. However, the Calculus of a Single Variable textbook is bulky and heavy and a bit intimidating for first-time calculus learners.
  • Authors: Ron Larson has been a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University since 1970. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has authored multiple software to improve the learning of the subject. He is also a published author with over 400 titles and recipient of awards for pioneering the use of computer technology for mathematical instructional aid. Bruce H. Edwards teaches mathematics at the University of Florida. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at Dartmouth College. He received numerous teaching awards and also co-authored textbooks with Ron Larson. He actively participates in the meetings of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Pages: 864
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning (January 1, 2013)

2. Calculus: Early Transcendentals (By James Stewart)

Calculus: Early Transcendentals is a worldwide best-seller due to its accurate and relevant real-life application examples. It offers the appreciation of the beauty of calculus as well as the development of technical competence which persuades both students and instructors to turn to James Stewart’s style of approach. It is suitable for both the first-time learners and the advanced ones.

This instructional material includes revised and detailed explanations, challenging exercises, and problem-solving solutions. It features conceptual exercises to promote conceptual mastery, graded exercise sets that advance from basic problems to difficult ones, and real-world data which illustrate the usage of the concepts of calculus. Furthermore, it highlights projects to keep the students’ active learners and problem-solving sections to exercise what is learned from the book.

  • Review: This book is noted as one of the best options for calculus references since it offers clear explanations of concepts. It covers homework problems for the subject and adds more challenging problems to further improve the learners. It also offers summary pages to review previous concepts. However, there are incomplete solutions for some problem-solving examples to prompt the learners to create their own solutions. The large size of the book is also inconvenient for carrying from class to class.
  • Author: James Stewart was a professor at McMaster University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He had conducted researches about functional analysis and harmonic analysis. He was a published author and co- author of high school and calculus textbooks. The James Stewart Mathematics Centre at McMaster University was named for him as a tribute for his contributions in the field of mathematics.
  • Pages: 1368
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning (February 4, 2015)

3. Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach (By Morris Kline)

This book as explained by the subtitle develops basic concepts using arguments and relies on applications from branches of science such as physics as well as biological and social sciences. It is an introductory course that deals especially on derivatives, differentiation and integration, theorems related to differentiation and antidifferentiation, and examples to help beginning calculus students. The book provides concise explanations, challenging drills, and illustrations.

  • Review: Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach is an engaging and enjoyable resource material and learners are often satisfied to share the vision and thoughts of the author in the field of mathematics. The book offers detailed derivations that are normally skipped in calculus courses. It also helps non-native English speakers with limited time to study to fully understand the meaning of simplifying complex equations and solving differentiation. However, it often refers to different pages that may affect the smooth reading of the learner. The author’s approach also proceeds slowly and gently due to the great detailing, which may be a problem for impatient students.
  • Author: Morris Kline was a professor of mathematics at New York University. He earned his Ph.D. in the same university in 1936. He pioneered the curriculum reform in mathematics education and critiqued the methods of mathematics research. He was also a published author on philosophy and history.
  • Pages: 960
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 19, 1998)

4. Calculus (By Michael Spivak)

Calculus by Spivak introduces mathematical analysis which aims to appreciate calculus as a mathematical theory formed from the combination of logical reasoning and fundamental concepts. The book offers informative explanations, examples, numerous drills, and illustrations. The author also uses a simple approach to enlighten students and to bridge introductions to real-world analysis.

  • Review: The book has a conversational style which makes it a suitable reference for self-studying. It also allows appreciation of calculus by proving almost every theorem with explanations and strengthening the fundamental foundations. It also provides multiple exercises to improve problem-solving techniques. Although conversational, Calculus by Spivak prefers a rigorous approach in showing complete solutions, which may not be ideal for easy reading and maybe a more challenging experience for novices.
  • Author: Michael Spivak is a published author of numerous mathematics textbooks and writings. He earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University. His research in differential geometry earned him the Leroy P. Steele Prize in 1985. Aside from mathematics, he is also interested in elementary physics, font designing, and creating a television series.
  • Pages: 681
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 1, 2006)

5. Thomas’ Calculus (By George B. Thomas Jr., Maurice D. Weir, and Joel R. Hass)

This book offers basic concepts, comprehensive explanations, conceptual exercises, and relevant applications that help the students in applying the ideas of calculus. It helps the learners to go beyond superficial formulas and techniques and reach mathematical proficiency. This is an ideal reference for the calculus courses of mathematics, science, or engineering majors.

  • Review: This is an excellent book, especially for engineering mathematics, since it clearly explains its topics such as partial derivatives and vector calculus. It demonstrates concepts with step-by-step solutions, which is great for self-studying. This is also a recommended reference for beginners due to its simple approach. However, more advanced examples are also included in this book, which the beginners may also find difficult.
  • Authors: George B. Thomas Jr. was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 38 years. He pursued graduate studies at Cornell University wherein he conducted his research in number theory. He both served for the Mathematical Association of America and the American Society for Engineering Education. He was a renowned author of popular calculus textbooks and co- author of monographs. Maurice D. Weir is a Professor Emeritus at Naval Postgraduate School in California. He attended Whitman College and Carnegie-Mellon University for his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate studies. His area of expertise includes mathematical modeling and simulation. He is a co-author of eight books, as well as the University Calculus series and the Thomas’ Calculus. Joel R. Hass is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Davis. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. His area of research includes double bubble conjecture, unknotting problem, and Reidemeister moves. He is a published author and co-author of research papers and calculus textbooks.
  • Pages: 1152
  • Publisher: Pearson (September 12, 2009)

Calculus can be intimidating, but with the right references, learning can be informative and, at the same enjoyable. Finding the best calculus books for you is made possible by the tailored list above.

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